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Zambia : Too Busy Dealing With Debt Crisis to Develop a Cannabis Industry

Zambia : Too Busy Dealing With Debt Crisis to Develop a Cannabis Industry

Prohibition Partners/ACA Group

26 December 2022 at 09:30:00

The Global Cannabis Report 2022 says that Zambia moved early to legalize the export of medical cannabis but has made little progress because of the constant economic turmoil in the country. It says it will be some time before there’s any meaningful development on the cannabis front in Zambia.

Similar to Zimbabwe, Zambia was an early mover in legalising medical cannabis cultivation for research and export. Since the Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Bills were passed in 2021, progress has been slow due to a fiscal debt crisis and a fiercely contested national election that saw a change in government in 2021.

Zambia became Africa’s first pandemic era government bond defaulter, highlighting the desperate economic background which saw cannabis being deprioritised. Zambia also has one of the highest licence fees in Africa, charging US$250,000 annually for a licence.

In 2021, the Zambia National Service was granted the mandate and requisite licences to grow cannabis for research purposes, a pilot that the government would use to develop a better technical understanding of the plant.

The Zambia National Service, a division of the Ministry of Defence focused on agricultural training and skills development, has earmarked large grow areas across the country for cultivation purposes.

The new Zambian administration, however, seems cautious in terms of cannabis liberalisation, highlighting the risks of the broad use of cannabis in a recent Drug Abuse campaign.

Based on the slow pace of progress to date, it may still be a few years before Zambia’s cannabis industry begins to materially scale.


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